When I was five, I attended afternoon kindergarten, and spent mornings with my great-aunt who was a retired schoolteacher.  She fed me Count Chocula (and other frosted-sugar delights not found in my home) and we spent hours digging in her garden.  She and my great-uncle grew the best okra and largest tomatoes I’d ever seen, and when I got tired I’d sit on the tractor seat and watch.

One of the best parts of staying with Great-Aunt was the Christmas decorations.  I helped her get them out around Thanksgiving, and arranged them, with particular attention to the Fontanini nativity set.  Every day during December, I’d visit Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds, the goats, the sheep, the angels and Goldy, Frank and Murray.  I’d decided that Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar were just too complicated, so I made up new names for the Wise Men.

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